Employers that fail to pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW) could be fined up to £20,000, the government has announced.
Currently employers would face penalties of up to £5,000 if they failed to provide the minimum £6.31 an hour for staff aged 21 and older.
Employers who failed to pay the minimum wage would also face the possibility of having their name revealed publicly by the government.
A report released by think tank Centre for London estimated that 300,000 workers in Britain are paid below the legal minimum rate.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: Anyone entitled to the minimum wage should receive it.” ”Paying anything less than this is unacceptable, illegal and will be punished by law. So we are bringing in tougher financial penalties to crack down on those who do not play by the rules. The message is clear: if you break the law, you will face action.”
Vince Cable has also pledged that the fines could soon be raised to £20,000 for each worker not paid the full NMW.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, said: “The plans announced to quadruple penalties for rogue bosses who cheat staff out of the minimum wage should make employers think twice before illegally underpaying their staff.
“It’s great that the penalties have been raised and that it’s easier to name and shame offending employers. It’s crucial now that HM Revenue & Customs is given the resources they need to enforce these new rights properly.“